Hello from Los Angeles!

It seems that everyone in this city aspires towards something – writing, acting, directing, filmmaking, or being on a reality television show. Whether someone grew up here under the shadow of the Hollywood sign or moved to Southern California to pursue their ambitions, people dream about breaking into the entertainment industry. If you don’t believe me, just ask any waiter or barista about their long term plans.

I got sucked in too.

I have written songs, attempted to teach myself to play the guitar, choreographed a dance, directed some short films, performed stand up comedy, and even written a play. I haven’t gotten an agent or head shots (pictures to promote my career), but perhaps I should ask for those for Christmas.

After realizing that every person was created by God with the capacity to be creative but not necessarily artistic, I began to discover the freedom of developing my own strengths which were more relational and organizational.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share some of the insights I have learned in working with those who truly are artistic in our community at Mosaic in Los Angeles. At an event sponsored by [Awaken] in New York City called Ethos, I shared some of these principles in a session called “Managing the Creative Beast.”

Managing the Creative Beast recognizing the following:

1. As leaders we aren’t supposed to be the most creative people within our organization. We are to be the equippers of others way more talented than we are (Eph. 4:11-13).

2. Managing the creative beast is challenging. It’s easier to manage someone who just wants to be told what to do. When we entrust ministry or opportunity to people wanting to flex their creative muscles, they may start moving in directions we don’t want them to go. At the same time, as leaders we need to help people find the freedom to express themselves while developing the character to avoid selfishness.

3. We should not try to tame the creative beast. If we do, they will leave, or we will stifle their creativity. Too often our structures are more important than the people we have forced into our structures.

4. Although we shouldn’t try to tame the creative beast, we can harness the energy in the right direction. Every beast needs its own jungle. By casting vision, inspiring, mobilize to service, focusing the creativity around servanthood (Mt. 10:39), and learning to say “no, but…” we can help creative people move forward as they move our community into new arenas.

5. At [Mosaic], our volunteer staff process creates the opportunities for spiritual mentoring and character development essential to avoiding the “talent trap.” Too often, as leaders we slip into valuing talent over character. In the end this hurts our community and the person we have recruited prematurely.

6. I have discovered my creative contribution is serving and managing the creative beast.

What is your creative contribution in your community? How have you been able to unleash your own creativity or the creativity of those around you?

Watch this video:

Ironically, this video was supposed to be shown at Ethos, but one of the guys on the video team forgot to bring it with us to New York City. This reminds me of another principle in unleashing creativity – learn to be forgiving and gracious because you will be disappointed with others just as you and I disappoint others as well.

Merry Christmas!


Showing 14 comments
  • danield

    great post. love the video.

  • alan

    wow. eric, you need to get on stage for dance ministry. no joke!

  • Lori

    Hey Eric! I loved the blog, and wish I could have heard you share it in NY. Travis said your session was great! I’m looking forward to receiving your newsletter!

  • Eric Bryant

    By the way, to watch one of the funniest videos added to the world wide web, go to You can see what “inspired” the end of the dance scene in the “Managing the Creative Beast” video. Merry Chritmas!

  • Rebekah

    Hey Eric,

    That video was so funny..I remember when you showed that to my family when you were down here in TX. 🙂 It reminds me of the grape smash lady! haha.. ” I think she is actually hurt there..” hahaha

  • joh edgar

    Pretty Cool! One of the best blogs I have seen in a long time! Keep it up!

  • Rey

    The principles are great reminders.

    The video is hilarious!

  • Cliff

    Dude, how can I get an internship?

  • Darren Plummer

    LOL!! Eric, man… that video was really wicked, dude! Funny as all get out! Mind if upload it to a blog of mine and get your name out there to some of my peeps? Even if you say “no”, I might do it anyway… that’s just the ARTISTE in me! 🙂

    Great stuff, dude… keep it up!!

  • Nic

    Great video, Eric! Funniest for those of us who know the real you, I think. 😉

    But, maybe it’s okay that one got left behind. Did you notice the typo in the outro? Spell “Artiste” any way you like, but the name of our noble tribe ought to get its vowels straight…

  • Shaula

    I got an Ethos follow up e-mail today, and I was very excited to find out about your blog and the leadership resources. Thanks so much. I will keep reading.

  • Lon

    that’s hilarious Eric. Good article as well. glad I found your latest blog. I’ll be tuning in.

  • John Williford

    Eric I’d like to personally thank you for that video. Made my morning! I didn’t realize that you were acting in the first part, and thought to myself, “Wow…Eric used to be really full of himself…” ha!

    I really like the dynamic that you brought up that exists in leading those who are creative in a good way (or, honestly, any type of leadership). Obviously we want to unleash the hidden potential in each person, but leading others is a constant struggle to both point them in the right direction, and remember that God is shaping them. Who knows the right amount of effort we put into leadership? Is it 50% us, 50% God? Does God step aside and allow us to go it alone? Or, do we simply do nothing and spend the day in prayer? These questions reach up into theological issues, but the issues they raise are very grounded and real. As leaders, I think we need to find the middle ground between dictatorship and anarchy. We must find a way to inspire others to believe in themselves, to harness the hidden talents within and implement them in whatever task. I assume this takes more leadership at first, but then gradually we must learn to back off as the person comes into leadership in their own right. Either way it is a fascinating look into our relationships as we attempt to lead.

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  • […] For a limited time only – preview articles and interviews from the Mosaic Alliance for free. Article by Eric Bryant on MANAGING THE CREATIVE BEAST Interview with Erwin McManus on Infuze 2006 Article on whether Mosaic and Bethel are part of the ‘emerging church’ by Alex McManus 2006 Article on the history and culture of mosaic through an Asian American lens Article and another article on Erwin McManus at Catalyst 2005 Article about Erwin McManus and Creativity 2005 Interview with Erwin McManus on thinking differently Q&A with Erwin by La Bodega 2004 Response article to me from Mosaic insider Soundchick 2004 part 1 and 2 Article on wholeness by Erwin McManus Article on friendship by Erwin McManus Article on a cause-driven church by Erwin McManus Article and video by fresh ministry on postmodern ministry Article in Relevant Magazine on Erwin McManus’ Barbarian Way Alex McManus on pray247 interview Article on Origins 2004, Recap on Origins 2005, Origins 2006 notes Outline of Emerging Leaders program offered at Bethel Article on An Unstoppable Force Article on Mosaic and a vision for the world Article on Ethos Blogs of interns at Mosaic, here, here, and here. Mosaic Navigator Eric Bryant’s blog , Eric’s latest blog. […]

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